The ATA concurs with what the COAG Road Reform Plan (CRRP) is setting out to do in principle, that is, improve the efficiency of the road freight system. The trucking industry is currently paying more than its fair share of the burden of road costs. However, the ATA does not accept the current recommendations from the CRRP.
The ATA believes the draft heavy vehicle national law should be reworked in consultation with industry before it is considered further.
The submission sets out 91 recommendations about the draft law, including road access decisions, fatigue management, chain of responsibility, TruckSafe and the Intelligent Access Program.
The ATA is broadly supportive of a National Land Freight Strategy (NLFS), although raises some caution with the discussion in the draft strategy and proposed actions.
The ATA believes the final version of the 2011-2020 National Road Safety Strategy should give the planned National Heavy Vehicle Regulator the resources, expertise and authority to take direct carriage of major chain of responsibility investigations.
The ATA believes the Australian Government should compare the safety benefits and costs of safe rates against other road safety measures before going ahead with the concept.
The NTC Heavy Vehicle Pricing Options paper sets out a number of high-level pricing models.
These look at a range of options, including a modified fuel-based charging option which is supported by Industry. Charging reform could be a beneficial policy move provided it is based on accurate information and is economically feasible. It is critical that potential reform in heavy vehicle charges is accompanied by reform in infrastructure funding.
Truck drivers working under Basic Fatigue Management should have more ability to split their long rest breaks so they can focus on resting when they are fatigued, the ATA submission to the NTC in response to its discussion paper on improving Basic Fatigue Management says.
A voluntary telematics adoption is currently promoted for improved safety and compliance outcomes. The ATA is cautious of any telematics policy that artificially forces adoption on the industry. The use of telematics for other agenda and policy issues, like direct charges, are not supported by industry at this stage; and these should be considered separately.
The ATA has called for all existing rest areas to be maintaine during the Barton Highway Duplication with improved capability, capacity, services and ideally additional rest opportunities. It is particularly important that shade is available at the completion of the revised rest areas, not some years later as replacement trees grow. At least one rest area in each direction should be provided with water and toilet facilities.
The ATA has released its response to the National Transport Commission’s regulatory impact statement (RIS) into its review of the Performance Based Standards (PBS) Scheme. The RIS identifies a number of issues with industry take up and examines several options for improving participation, as well as providing certainty of access for PBS vehicles on Australian road networks.